Pleated Matter

In 2013, Susan and I began collaborating in London with a group of young professional dance students. We first focused on exploring differences between two different modes of imagery – kinesthetic and visual — during movement creation. Using two contrasting images – containers and vectors, we wondered how the improvisations would differ. The study resulted in uniquely different movement quality and content. Our research has been accepted in the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, and was presented at the somatic conference in Coventry UK (2015), the Dublin Dance Research Forum meeting in Ireland (2014) and the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science meeting in Basel, Switzerland (2015).

Read a sample script.

Photo Susan Sentler 2015

Moving on, Susan and I began to explore the idea of body folding. The point of our research here was to uncover new dynamics of embodiment. These dynamics were aspects not readily accessible in dance training. The work readily went underneath habit to a sub-terrainian encounter with the self.

The writings of phenomenology Gilles Deleuze sparked the impetus for entering into this branch of practice-based research.

Deleuze’s work seemed spot on for dance improvisation given his idea of matter as a fluid multiplicity, a continuum, whose rhizomic nature was boundary-less, fractal and free of an inner-outer dichotomy or vantage point. To quote Deleuze:

‘…matter thus offers an infinitely porous, spongy, or cavernous texture without emptiness, caverns endlessly contained in other caverns… unfolding not the opposite of folding, but follows the fold up to the following fold…’ (5-6)

In a paradoxical take on Deleuze, to have is to fold what is outside, inside; to make/act, is to unfold what is inside, outside.

Photo Susan Sentler 2011

Working with dancers both formally and informally, we explored macro- and micro-folding patterns of the body through improvisatory themes. These included novel explorations on embryonic and anatomical development, such as the body as coastline, the emergence of rhe face, the induction of the primitive streak (the embryonic midline), and the origins of sight.

Pleats of Matter, Folds of the Soul
Giuliana Bruno
No. 1 (Fall 2003), pp. 113-122